On the 13th there was a flower show in town and we went and there were beautiful flowers and vendors selling many things such as jewelry and trinkets.
We met up with a couple that we had met a few days before Gord and Chery Wile from B.C. We told them we would meet them for dinner later at the Baru restaurant. I ordered the Octopus Appetizer and Betty ordered the trout Appetizer , the octopus sucked it was awful. The evening was going good until half way through the meal when the cold wind came up with colder rain. I was not dressed for it and was freezing. We walked home in the rain and was soaking wet and cold. I immediately send an Email to the Hotel Milan and the taxi driver Roger.
Saturday we walked into town and bought a few groceries, the streets were crowded for the flower show which lasts 10 days We were warned that there were many pick pockets in town so watch your purses. I didn’t carry anything .
Sunday we again woke to rain and the power went out for a few hours. We phoned the kids when the power came back on had lunch and watched a movie on our little laptop.
Monday for a change it was raining wasn’t that novel. We needed groceries so when we had an hour of sunshine we went in but had fierce cold winds. We stopped for lunch at a little bar at the top of the town just before the gated community. We continued to the casita and it started raining again when we were just about home.
Tuesday morning we went down to the Expats meeting Market we bought coffee beans to take home to people. The coffee in Panama so far is really good. We bought some stone baked bread and a few books. The lecture was by Tom McKinnon and it was,” How to Get along with Gringos, live among them and speak their language”. It was a very interesting lecture after which we went to a restaurant, had lunch a coffee and went back home. On the way the clouds came back down into the valley and it got very chilly again. We have nothing planned tomorrow but have the clay course on Thursday.
On Wednesday we walked into town and it wasn’t a bad day we stopped at an outdoor style restaurant and met a couple from Texas Linda and Steve Ayers that were renting a house in Boquete and seriously thinking of moving. Steve however was sick possibly from mold in a place that they previously had rented. They were very nice and invited us for a drive around the area on Sunday.
The Casita the valley and the mountains. There are mountains all the way around the gated community. The homes in the community are all million dollar homes. We again are totally exhausted so we had some dinner and went to bed. Oh! And did I mention it is Tuesday 3rd Jan and its Raining. Wednesday Betty went with Dottie into Banqueter to get some more groceries and get her phone working. It rained again in the afternoon. On Thursday and Friday it rained again all day and the rain is cold.
On Saturday it was not raining but not too warm either. Betty and I walked into the town it takes about eight minutes to walk downhill into the town and 10 to 15 minutes to walk back uphill to the house. The town is small and has quite a few places to shop for necessities and a fair amount of restaurants. It seems very small for the number of Expats that are here. Every Tuesday they have an expats meeting lecture and sale of things in a hall just over the bridge downtown. On Sundays they had a church service and breakfast in the same place. We ate at a few of the restaurants when it wasn’t raining or too cold.
Sunday started out Sunny so we went out the back of the property into the woods and 8 foot bamboo forest. We came out of the underbrush after about 100 feet and climbing down rock banks. We came out onto a river flowing down the valley between large piles of fairly large rocks stretching as far as you could see in both directions. We went along the top of the rocks on the bank down about a quarter of a mile to a bridge. When we went up to the bridge and the road it started raining again and was very windy. We walked past the casita and to the end of the road where we met one of the neighbors originally from Wyoming Bob and Garnett Brown they have a beautiful house and live here permanently. We also met the woman across the street Linda Smith she and her husband also live here permanently and love it. We walked around the park at the end of the road and took pictures of all kinds of flowers fruit trees and Banana trees.
We signed up for a Polymer Clay class for one day on the 19th of January.
On the other side through the Exit door, the taxi driver that our landlady had promised, was there with a name sign. Before exiting the building we spotted a sign between the final exit doors that in fact held the form that you get to be eligible for the 30days of free health coverage while in panama for tourists. So many people missed the desk but we were able to get the insurance.
The Taxi Drivers name was Roger and he had been driving in Panama City for Dottie for many years. He was completely trustworthy and spoke English very well. He took us to our hotel, Hotel Milan it was inexpensive and clean. http://www.hotelmilan.com.pa/en/ .The Assistant manager at the time was Ana Carballeda she spoke English and was really nice. There was a restaurant in the hotel and we had a couple of beers with Roger. His name is actually Roger Rogelia and his Email is mago50@hotmHail.com his cell is 6717-6745 he promised to pick us up in the morning and take us to the Bus terminal. We were tired from our flight and hit the sack at 9:00 pm
We were up and ready to go at 5:30AM. Thank God that Roger was already downstairs waiting for us. The city streets at that time of morning are crazy and no one gives anyone an inch. Cars are constantly cutting you off. We arrived at the bus terminal and it also was a zoo. Roger walked with us to the terminal and to the area to buy a ticket and where to wait. We both think he was a really good driver and not expensive. The hotel was also worth the money. We hoped to stay there on the way back. The bus left Panama City for David (Da vid) at 7:20 and stopped for half an hour at noon. Arrived in David at 3:15 PM .This was in total about an 8 hour bus ride. The terminal there is very small and we didn’t know what Dottie looked like. When I saw a lady parking a red Isuzu truck and walking across the parking lot I knew it was her. She was very nice and took us for groceries as she had told us by Email. We also picked up a phone and then on to the Casita. It was small but very clean with a kitchen eating area, bedroom, bath, and closet. It was just what we needed and it was a separate building on her property which was in a very large gated community.
It’s 4:30 am and we were picked up by taxi and transported to Toronto International Airport. Checked in at the COPA Airlines desk. We took off at about 10 am after a very long unexplained wait. The aircraft was a typical vacation craft with the seats closer to each other than they should be. When the guy in front of me put his seat back he was in my lap and I had to turn my legs to one side or the other which was uncomfortable. We were served a fair lunch and several drinks which made the flight seem shorter than the five and a half hours in the air.
Panama City at 3:30 PM in January is now where to be coming from a cool country. When we disembarked from the aircraft it was like walking into a furnace. The humidity was off the chart and there were so many people going in so many directions you could have easily got lost in the traffic. We noticed a couple of people we knew were on the plane and followed them to the immigration lineups. Yes there were four very long packed lineups and about 6 or 8 immigration desks. There was a person directing traffic at every two lines. The one in charge of our line seemed to be taking two or three persons from the other line instead of taking every other one from our line. It is their system so we just grin and bare it. The immigration took about 40 minutes then we had to go find our bags that had been inspected and sniffed with drug dogs. After searching a large area with a multitude of baggage we found our sin two separate areas and then headed for Customs. We baggage were placed into very large x ray machines and inspected The carry baggage was opened and inspected carefully.